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How Costly Is Affirmative Action? Government Contracting and California's Proposition 209

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  • Justin Marion

    (Department of Economics, University of California, Santa Cruz)

Abstract

This paper investigates the effect of disadvantaged business enterprise subcontractor goals on the winning bids for highway construction contracts using California's Proposition 209, which prohibited the consideration of race or gender in awarding state-funded contracts. After Proposition 209, prices on state-funded contracts fell by 5.6% relative to federally funded projects, for which preferences still applied. Most of the price decline after Proposition 209 resulted from the mix of subcontractors employed, which seems to arise from the higher costs of firms located in high-minority areas. Finally, short-run barriers to entry and expansion may increase the cost of affirmative action. Copyright by the President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by MIT Press in its journal The Review of Economics and Statistics.

Volume (Year): 91 (2009)
Issue (Month): 3 (August)
Pages: 503-522

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Handle: RePEc:tpr:restat:v:91:y:2009:i:3:p:503-522

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Web page: http://mitpress.mit.edu/journals/

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Cited by:
  1. Justin Marion, 2009. "Firm racial segregation and affirmative action in the highway construction industry," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 33(4), pages 441-453, December.
  2. Mares, Vlad & Swinkels, Jeroen M., 2011. "Near-optimality of second price mechanisms in a class of asymmetric auctions," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 72(1), pages 218-241, May.
  3. De Silva, Dakshina G. & Dunne, Timothy & Kosmopoulou, Georgia & Lamarche, Carlos, 2012. "Disadvantaged business enterprise goals in government procurement contracting: An analysis of bidding behavior and costs," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 30(4), pages 377-388.
  4. Marion, Justin, 2007. "Are bid preferences benign? The effect of small business subsidies in highway procurement auctions," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(7-8), pages 1591-1624, August.
  5. Gil, Ricard & Marion, Justin, 2009. "The Role of Repeated Interactions, Self-Enforcing Agreements and Relational [Sub]Contracting: Evidence from California Highway Procurement Auctions," University of California Transportation Center, Working Papers qt66z0w84p, University of California Transportation Center.
  6. Luigi Moretti & Paola Valbonesi, 2012. "Subcontracting in Public Procurement: An Empirical Investigation," "Marco Fanno" Working Papers 0154, Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche "Marco Fanno".
  7. Wong, Maisy, 2013. "Estimating the Distortionary Effects of Ethnic Quotas in Singapore Using Housing Transactions," MPRA Paper 51217, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  8. Robert Fairlie & Justin Marion, 2012. "Affirmative action programs and business ownership among minorities and women," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 39(2), pages 319-339, September.
  9. Vlad Mares & Jeroen Swinkels, 2014. "Comparing first and second price auctions with asymmetric bidders," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer, vol. 43(3), pages 487-514, August.
  10. Chatterji, Aaron K & Chay, Kenneth Y & Fairlie, Robert W, 2013. "The Impact of City Contracting Set-Asides on Black Self-Employment and Employment," Santa Cruz Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt479755b2, Department of Economics, UC Santa Cruz.
  11. De Silva, Dakshina G. & Hubbard, Timothy P. & Kosmopoulou, Georgia, 2013. "Efficacy of a Bidder Training Program: Lessons from LINC," MPRA Paper 51329, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  12. Elena Krasnokutskaya & Katja Seim, 2011. "Bid Preference Programs and Participation in Highway Procurement Auctions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(6), pages 2653-86, October.

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